Once you've got your vision and strategy nailed, getting on with implementing the growth activity is next. This is the exciting part that every business owner or leader responsible for business growth is eager to dive into. Who wouldn't want to see new leads pouring in, new sales being made, and the anticipated growth becoming a reality?
To achieve scalability, it's essential to carefully plan activities for each stage of the buyer/customer journey. To attract strangers to your website, you'll need to engage in various activities such as PPC, social media, SEO, and blogging. You can also create brand awareness through podcasts, YouTube, and other platforms.
But what happens once these strangers land on your website? Not everyone will be ready to make a purchase immediately, so how do you capture leads and nurture them through the customer journey?
HOW TO ATTRACT STRANGERS TO YOUR WEBSITE
Your efforts should be targeted at grabbing the attention of strangers to your business and building that brand awareness, that pulls them to your website.
There are a load of different ways to attract strangers to your website. The key is to know who you are trying to target (remember the bit about buyer personas?) and to understand the content they want to consume.
Once you've got some good targeted content, you want to establish which way (or marketing channel to use some jargon) prospects might find your website. You could design one advert that you trial over different channels (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) and measure the response.
You could also A/B test different adverts on the same channel to refine your marketing message.
The key is to take a systematic approach to whatever you do and to only change one thing at a time (otherwise it's pretty hard to figure out what did/didn't work).
Tools for the job
Using tools such as SemRush can help you to understand what target audience are searching for (always useful). You can also use Semrush to analyse competitors, look at keyword ranking difficulties, or CPC rates.
Google Search Console and Adwords also offer great tools for finding out where your target customers are online.
HubSpot is a great tool for consolidating your social posts with the added bonus of being able to track a social click through to a deal to get that ROI data!
The average attention span is about eight seconds, which is what makes someone's attention one of the most prized commodities on the web. You have to make engaging, entertaining, and educating content. Where possible, re-use your existing content.
We helped a client turn one of their posters into an animated 30-second video which got significant interest on LinkedIn. Our experience has shown that video will generate 3-4 times the engagement (clicks, shares, comments, likes) on LinkedIn than a standard post.
HOW TO CAPTURE WEBSITE VISITORS
You've attracted strangers to your website, now you've got to capture their details.
The process of capturing website visitors details is one big experiment. You may have a reasonably clear idea of what might work but until you start collecting data it will be hard to be sure.
Landing pages can be used to create a highly focused web page designed to entice the visitor to part with their email address. This could be in exchange for an offer, discount, or some free content like an e-book.
Landing page design can be A/B tested in terms of call-to-action, design, offer type, form placement, etc. Again, the key is to document what you change and don't change too much at once, so that you can tell what the key drivers are for visitors giving up their email.
You can also experiment with form design to evaluate the impact of conversions based on the data you ask for (note - if you get too greedy for data, people may not complete the form so it's a bit of a balancing act).
Tools for the job
HubSpot offers some great functionality when it comes to Landing Pages with the ability to perform A/B tests easily.
They also offer a feature called "Progressive Forms" which means if the CRM already knows the visitor, a form can ask for new bits of information to help build up the visitor profile.
Other great tools are things like HotJar, which allows you to see a visual heatmap of visitor interactions on your website.
We've also used tools like Convert Calculator to help build interactive quoting tools designed to capture visitor information.
This is a critical part of lead generation. It's the point at which you are making the trade of content for contact details.
Don't ask for too much information too soon or you'll put people off. You can always follow your form fills/downloads with further emails via a "drip" campaign where you offer more content and get to know your prospects more.
Having good content is key to getting people to part with their email addresses, so make sure what you're offering is relevant and interesting, and that it adds value to your prospect.
HOW TO ANALYSE WEBSITE CONTACTS
You've captured their information, now it's time to understand who they are.
This phase of the growth generator is not so much about designing experiments but more about organising your data. Doing this right will enable you to perform more targeted experiments as you move forward.
Once you have contact details in you CRM, you will want to organise them. Maybe you have different buyer personas, product/industry segments, or demographic information. All of these can be used to help you build a better picture of your prospects.
Depending on the CRM software you're using, you can build lists or group similar types of prospects who have shared interests. This gives you the ability to personalise content to your prospects depending on where they are in the buyer's journey, their market segment, or any other segmentation method you choose.
Tools for the job
Any half-decent CRM will allow you to build lists and group prospects/customers by interest. Our preference (if you hadn't guessed by now) is HubSpot due to it's powerful yet intuitive, easy-to-use interface.
HubSpot also has built-in AI that will give market intelligence at the company-level.
For more detailed information about prospects, LinkedIn Sales Navigator can provide useful insights (these can often be pulled into your CRM directly via APIs).
Services like Crunchbase can provide interesting information about a company's funding, competitors, and founders.
Tools like these help to build a picture of your prospects, which in turn enable you to focus your marketing more intentionally.
Analysis of website contacts can be quantitative and qualitative. Sometimes we have found that some of the best insights have come from trying to interpret the data as a story.
With a B2B client, we found that many of the new enquires/e-book downloads were coming from companies known to our client. However after further analysis, a pattern emerged that showed that whilst the companies were known to the client, the contacts (i.e. the person) wasn't.
A new generation of buyers were interacting with the business in new ways, such as on social media, which meant there was a need to build relationships (and trust) and demonstrate capabilities.
HOW TO QUALIFY YOUR OPPORTUNITIES
How can you tell when a lead is ready to buy?
The point at which you start to qualify your leads/opportunities is typically the point where marketing will hand over to sales. This can often be a bit of grey area so it is worth defining what makes a marketing qualified lead (MQL). This could be a simple as when a lead gets to a certain number of interactions (you could quantify this using a system similar to HubSpot points) or it may be more nuanced.
It may take some trial and error to establish the right point to pass the baton from marketing to sales. This is where a good relationship between these departments helps as the feedback from sales (e.g. "this lead wasn't ready to buy") will help refine the process.
How you approach this is going to depend on a few factors, such as how many leads you have in your pipeline. If you've only got a few high-value projects, you might want to take a more personalised approach as you'll have the time and size of the prize to make it worthwhile. If you have lots of lower value leads, the qualification process may need to be more automated.
Ultimately, there is no "one size fits all approach" as you'll have to experiment, communicate, and iterate.
Tools for the job
Using a framework like BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) can be a useful for qualifying a lead. Budget - How much is a lead prepared to spend on your solution? Authority - is the lead a decision maker (if not, who is)? Who will make the final decision? Need - Does the lead have an actual need for your solution? Timeline - How much time will the lead need before they reach a purchasing decision?
For one of our manufacturing clients, we helped them design an email that enabled them to identify where their leads were in the buyers journey. Being able to identify if the lead was in an awareness, consideration, or decision stage helped provide a level of qualification and distinction between marketing and sales activity.
HOW TO CONVERT LEADS TO CUSTOMERS
You've got your leads where you want them, now it's time to seal the deal.
You've finally got to the point where you've attracted strangers to your website, got their contact details, analysed their needs, nurtured them with engaging content, BANT qualified them and now they are ready to buy. Well, almost - there's still a bit of work to do.
If your product or service offers a trial or a demo then there are numerous ways you could experiment with this step of the process.
Recently, we have started to move our sales presentations to be more web-based. This has enabled us to personalise content, keep it dynamic, and provide a more engaging experience.
Research has shown that using personalised videos in your sales emails can help significantly increase open rates and conversion rates. We have also experimented with tracking sales documents to see what a lead is reading before or after the meeting.
All of these insights can be used by your sales team to help give you an edge when it comes to converting leads.
Tools for the job
There are loads of options for screen recording your sales presentations such as Vidyard, Gong, HubSpot to name but a few. You can also create great presentations in Canva and screen record a message on it to your lead (personalisation always helps).
Using unique tracking codes or QR codes can also be useful to see when links are clicked. CRM tools like Salesforce, Pipedrive, and HubSpot are all great for keeping track of deal pipelines and monitoring lead activities.
When it comes to converting leads to customers, you're not going to win them all (unless you're amazing in which case come and work for us!). It's equally important to understand why you are not converting leads as it is to know what works. Consider categorising the reasons you're not converting leads (e.g. cost, quality, delivery). This can then help you refine your buyer journey, qualification process, marketing messages, and much more.
HOW TO DELIGHT CUSTOMERS AND TURN THEM INTO ADVOCATES
You've sealed the deal, but now the real hard work starts, turning your customers into part of your marketing machine.
It's often said that referrals are the best source of leads - there is nothing quite like a glowing recommendation to accelerate the building of trust in a business relationship.
How are you doing at turning your customers into advocates of your brand? Do you really understand why they buy from you? It's worth considering that even leads that don't convert can become advocates for your business.
Delivering an excellent service is the best way to delight your customers, but this should be a given. To really understand if your customers are delighted, consider using survey tools or even running a customer advisory board to get really detailed feedback on your performance.
Don't be afraid to ask customers for reviews and testimonials as these can be powerful social proof. Consider using social listening (i.e. monitoring social media) to see what customers are saying.
Tools for the job
There are a load of great survey tools such as Typeform or Survey Monkey that will integrate with CRMs. VideoAsk is another great tool that allows you to ask questions in video format and also get responses as videos. This can offer a much more personal approach than a survey.
Getting customers to become advocates of a brand is often overlooked. Most of the effort goes into closing the sale and then it's on to the next one.
However, with a bit of planning it is possible to design a process (which can be largely automated) that can follow up customer transactions with referral options, testimonial requests, and survey/feedback forms.
We've found that if you really want to see how your customers feel, you can run a customer advisory board. Getting a few select customers into a room and getting them talking about your business, can offer insights into how you can convert them from customers to advocates.
Want to find out more about how to grow your business? Wellmeadow are a HubSpot Gold Partner. Download our free business growth eBook, How to Build a Business Growth Engine.
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